Leave it late
In standard auctions where the highest bid wins, you will only be driving the price up if you bid early. The trick here is to be brave enough to hold off right until the very last minute. Some sites let you use particular tools that will bid up to a given price for you at the last minute. Alternatively, you can bid your maximum price with just a few seconds left of the auction. That way, you won’t be outbid and you’re likely to get the item for much lower than the price you bid.
Don’t assume this is the cheapest place to buy
The recent trend for buying items in online auctions, whether new or secondhand, seems to have led to a shift away from traditional methods of grabbing a bargain. For example, car boot sales, charity shops and nearly new sales are all great ways of saving some money, often working out cheaper than online auctions. So if you’re relatively flexible about what you want to buy and don’t have particular colour schemes or designers in mind, you still might get a better price offline. The other advantage of charity shops is of course the fact that the profits go to such a worthy cause, so it’s always worth checking to see whether you can get what you want there first.
Do your research
If you are considering purchasing a particular brand or product, make sure that you research it first. Read reviews online and chat to friends about quality; sometimes things are cheap for a reason. You will be disappointed if what you thought was a bargain turns out to be a poor quality imitation of what you thought you were buying.
Weigh up the pros and cons
Sometimes, whilst cheaper, buying online can have its drawbacks. A great example is sports equipment. You might find a great pair of running shoes online that all the critics have recommended, but get them home and try them on and they could give you blisters. In this instance, you may gain more by going to a local running shop and getting a gait analysis done. The other advantage of offline shopping is supporting your local community. Things are tough for small businesses these days, if your local high street isn’t much more expensive than an online auction site, you might want to consider buying there instead.